5 Ways to Sell Your Brand Despite Social Distancing

23 April 2020 | 10 Comments

In a world where local stores and cafes aren’t open to customers, conventions are postponed or cancelled, fulfillment centers are limited, and consumer budgets are tight, how do you continue to sell your brand to the world?

This was the subject of a recent phone call between me and another publisher, and today I’m going to share the ideas we generated, including some examples from other companies.

Before you consider the following techniques, I’d highly recommend asking yourself a few questions (I’ve been doing this a lot lately), as they may help you find a path among a myriad of options: Who are you? What is your mission? How can you better serve your customers?

  1. Media Content: One of my primary methods of marketing our products (old and new) is to send them to reviewers for unbiased opinions and exposure. We’re still doing that, but our fulfillment center’s capacity is reduced (they’re prioritizing paid orders) and reviewers are limited by the people in their homes. This means that some media creators are looking for other forms of content, so it’s prime time to reach out to them for chats/interviews on their channels. I just had a great conversation with Russ at Tea & Chit Chat the other day.
  2. Responsibility and Goodwill: I’ve seen some publishers use their platforms to convey a sense of social responsibility. Board&Dice did this in a particularly clever way, reminding followers to stay at home via a version of their Teotihuacan game box with all people removed from the art. I’ve also seen a cookie-delivery business, Hotbox, offering deals to people who want to send cookies to health care workers.
  3. Connection (Rolling Realms, Isle of Cats, Jaffee Realms and Facebook Live): In a time when people can’t see their friends, we value connection more than ever. This is why I’ve spent many hours over the last month designing, refining, and hosting live teach-and-plays of Rolling Realms (an infinitely scaling roll-and-write game). Fellow creators Seth Jaffee (Jaffee Realms) and Frank West (Isle of Cats) are doing the same. Even just the act of hosting live conversations face-to-face with your followers can be mutually beneficial in these times of self-isolation.
  4. Create and Design: My #1 marketing tip for board game publishers at any time is, “Give people reasons to get a game to the table,whether it’s through promos, expansions, downloadable variants, etc. The more often a game hits the table, the greater the chance that someone will play it for the first time and will be compelled to invest in a copy for themselves.” Now is prime time to work on projects that accomplish that goal, and you can engage fans by posting about your progress in the meantime.
  5. Sales: Selling products is only part of selling your brand, and within that subcategory, price is one of many ways to appeal to customers. Given that peoples’ budgets are reduced right now, I think it’s an appropriate time to offer products at a discount. I’ve seen many publishers doing this, just as we’ve done on the Stonemaier Games webstore.

I’m not sure where this falls, but I also like that Studio Ghibli is offering high-res art for people to use as their Zoom background.

What are some examples you’ve seen of companies using these techniques (or others) over the last month?

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Also read: 10 Ways I Market Stonemaier Games Post-Kickstarter

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10 Comments on “5 Ways to Sell Your Brand Despite Social Distancing

  1. What is your opinion on using 3rd party software such as tabletop simulator or other programs to facilitate games while social distancing?

      1. Thanks Jamey! Not having the in-person is tough. Some of the charm of tabletop is lost when you can’t actually share the literal “tabletop” with your opponent. We’ve found that TTS is best suited for our playgroup in terms of playing the game, but using web-calls like zoom is best for getting that face to face interaction.

  2. As a Developer, I’ve found two things which have helped me execute the day-to-day service of The Professor’s Lab: 1.) Communication: It’s vital for me to stay in regular and intentional contact with eac of my clients. It doesn’t need to be a specific length of time, but should be frequent enough to provide context and direction. With some of my clients I have a chance to chat for 15-20 min on the phone, while others I’ll engage in an an hour-long Zoom meeting. 2.) Use On-Line Platforms: A month ago, I had used Tabletopia a handful of times. Now, 30 days on, I’ve now been out there more often than the past few years combined. Why? Many designers want their games playtested and it provides an excellent way to get people around a table, albeit virtually, and play games. Hope this helps others, as well!

  3. I offered one of my games for free (announced via social media) for anyone stuck inside with kids they need to entertain in a new non-digital way- free worldwide. It was well-received and I’m in the process of shipping these now. Also posted a picture of one of our miniatures games in action with models spaced far noting, “These units are practicing social distancing, you should too.” Stay safe.

  4. Thanks for a wonderful read. I especially liked the “Teotihuacan game box with all people removed from the art” — I need to see if I can get a hi-res version of that artwork to use as my Zoom background…

    Anyway… you guys are amazing. Keep up the good work!

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